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Laughter for wellbeing in Seniors Week 2018

Older people in park laughing as part of laughter yoga session

Seniors Week in Queensland later this month is a time to acknowledge the valuable contribution of older people, encourage older Queenslanders’ continued participation and involvement and grow connections between generations.

The Seniors Week calendar has hundreds of activities from the tip of Cape York to the NSW border—and for the first time, laughter yoga makes a few appearances.

Laughter yoga activities are being offered in Brisbane, Sunshine Coast and Central Highlands.

What is laughter yoga?

Laughter yoga is a combination of deep yogic breaths and simulated laughter generated through playful gentle exercises.

There are no jokes nor humour. It’s rather reminiscent of laughing freely as small children do (about 300 times a day some research says).

And the evidence is in: laughter yoga is great for the ageing body, mind and spirit. Here are just a few of the benefits:

4 benefits of laughter yoga for seniors

  1. Loma Linda University research has confirmed mirthful laughter can improve short-term memory by winding back the stress hormones that impair our ability to learn and remember
  2. Laughter has many proven physical benefits, including strengthening the immune system which is so important for staying well and recovering from health setbacks.
  3. Laughter yoga supports good mental health, working like a tonic to help beat feelings of depression, frustration, anxiety; even grief.
  4. A laugh shared connects people, dissolving loneliness.

This Seniors Week, I’m delighted to be offering one of the 3 laughter yoga session for seniors in Queensland. The Happydemic’s free Laugh for wellbeing in the park is a 30-minute gentle outdoor laughter yoga session on Wednesday 22 August. The session will start promptly at 11am (participants are asked to arrive a few minutes early).  There’s no need for a yoga mat – but if you’re a little unsteady on your feet, bring a chair to work from.

On Thursday 23 August,  Birtinya Retirement Village on the Sunshine Coast hosts a laughter yoga session at 10am. Details for this Sunshine Coast laughter session are on the Seniors Week calendar.

There’ll also be belly laughs and giggles aplenty in Rubyvale in central Queensland.

Laughter yoga is joyous. It is accessible. It does tap into the ‘inner child’. It does us good. Afterall, laughter is good medicine.

Or perhaps more importantly, it’s worth remembering:

We don’t stop laughing when we grow old, we grow old when we stop laughing!

(c) Heather Joy Campbell 2018

Heather Joy Campbell, founder of The Happydemic, is a certified laughter yoga teacher, global ambassador for Laughter Yoga International and professional laughter wellbeing facilitator who works in workplaces and aged care and trains people to laugh, seriously, for health without jokes.